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Team Victory Rankings

A look at which teams have won the most races so far this season and the big names come to the fore already, more than ever they’re squeezing out the others with the top three WorldTeams have half the wins so far this season. Rival teams wanting to challenge this, or just maintain their spot in the World Tour, are now in the busy season for recruitment.

Deceuninck-Quickstep lead the table again and if anything the surprise is that they are not further ahead as they’ve had 15 wins but also 13 second places and 11 wins and traditionally they’ve had an odd distribution of podium places with a big skew towards winning. Put simply they’ve won more often than they’ve placed. It looks like the sponsors are onboard for five more years – more longer term planning and stability in the sport – and Remco Evenepoel seems part of this, that the team could dangle him in front of sponsors as an asset to back. Indeed the 15 wins so far this year are obviously without prolific scorers Evenepoel and Fabio Jakobsen.

Jumbo-Visma are next and also achieve their tally without Dylan Groenewegen, whose ban ends shortly, and Tom Dumoulin who’s on a sabbatical. They’re doing the Quickstep trick of winning more than placing, with 13 wins and as many second and third places and their best riders for wins this year are Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard, on four each.

Ineos keep racking up the wins but have made the news as much for the wrong reasons with the incendiary news from the UK medical hearings and the team management seem determined to hunker down and hope it all blows over. Their best rider so far this year is Filippo Ganna on three wins and Adam Yates and Ivan Sosa on two each and of course they have plenty more riders who are bound to win in the coming weeks and months as the sport switches focus from one day events to stage races, the team’s speciality. But grand tours? A lot hinges on getting Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas back to peak shape and while the team has the biggest budget by far it looks like they don’t have the very best riders any more.

UAE Emirates are next and part of the quartet of big budget squads and is now a long way from the old Lampre incarnation with a big budget and a voracious appetite for recruiting young talent, Brandon McNulty might have lost the Tour of the Basque Country but he’s only just turned 23. Tadej Pogačar has taken five wins so far and increasingly looks like the rider to beat at the Tour de France given his ability in time trials but the weak point is his team, they might lament “only” recruiting veteran Rafał Majka as support over winter. Marc Hirschi’s joined but can he be pressed into service?

Trek-Segafredo come next with seven wins, decent against the others so far and compared to 2020 when they had ten wins in total. They crave a win in Flanders or Roubaix but would surely be delighted to settle with Jasper Stuyven’s Milan-Sanremo win. We’re likely to see more changes with Nibali’s contract up, do they renew (presumably on reduced terms) or does The Shark swim elsewhere? Talk about 2022 rosters is not premature, teams are busy planning now and the star riders who consume the most budget are the first to be addressed.

Lotto-Soudal are on five wins. The spring classics are often a barren spot for the Belgian team, they tend to win some early season races in Spain and France before resuming wins again in May, it’s been this way for years. Caleb Ewan’s probably still the best sprinter in the world although Sam Bennett’s supporters might have a word or three to say here.

Bora-Hansgrohe are on just three wins yet are mid-table, testimony to how the top teams above them are monopolising the wins. The German team ought to have more given they’ve got riders capable of winning anything from sprints to summit finishes although one of them was a big win in Paris-Nice with Max Schachmann, albeit sans a stage win and more down to Roglič losing the race. Fourth on the table last year, their house sprinter Pascal Ackermann has yet to score and has been chasing his tail a bit, a period of snow at home meant he missed training before the UAE Tour and has looked short ever since. The big question is to renew Peter Sagan’s contract but it’s not a yes/no matter, more how much? If it’s on current terms then nein as he’s paid a lot but his win rate has fallen off a cliff and publicity wise the likes of Mathieu van der Poel have eclipsed him. But he could have a role if he stays, especially with Specialized as the deal broker.

Groupama-FDJ are on three and one of them thanks to Arnaud Démare in the recent Roue Tourangelle, showing up with his full leadout train was a bit like arriving at school picnic with a fleet of food trucks. David Gaudu by contrast can celebrate a good win in the Tour of Basque Country, he took two wins in the Vuelta from the early breakaway, this time he won by making the selection among the leaders.

Israel are on three wins and all eyes still on Chris Froome’s form and whether he can improve, he’s starting the Tour of the Alps in a week’s time.

Astana have two, they’re another team built for stage races. With Canadian horticultural firm Premier Tech now owning half the squad it’ll be interesting to see where they go next in terms of recruitment and image.

Bike Exchange have two, with Esteban Chaves making a return to winning ways and as ever the team is hunting for a new backer as Bike Exchange is a small company with revenue many times smaller than the team budget. Team owner Gerry Ryan remains the real sponsor.

Cofidis are off to a roaring start with two wins, or at least they’ve already matched their tally from last year. Thierry Vittu, the marketing and personnel manager at Cofidis announced a sponsorship extension and the team would stay in the sport until 2025 and among the goals was to move up from the 19th ranked World Tour team… to the 16th, commendable realism. The sponsor has a big interest in Slovakia and if Elia Viviani’s contract is up… well there’s a high profile Slovak rider on the market.

Among those on one win, yes Bahrain are victorious. The moniker is a label, a brand for the country and they have it on a Parisian soccer team too but in cycling, a sport where Deceuninck “only” win 20% of the races they start, it’s ripe for mockery. Their more substantial problem is the roster, a lot of very good riders but few to land big wins beyond Dylan Teuns and Mikel Landa with the Basque always an exciting prospect but his win rate per year is less than one per season now.

Ag2r Citroën have one thanks to Aurélien Paret-Peintre’s GP La Marseillaise and they did hire Marc Sarreau who could score more in the smaller Coupe de France races but has been discreet so far. Thanks to Citroën they are a big budget team now. A portion of this has gone on recruiting Greg Van Avermaet and Bob Jungels but they’ve got more to spend: who to recruit? Ag2r are a French sponsor so a Frenchman would be nice but it’s not as essential, less so with Citroën which sells across Europe. But who or perhaps first, what role: a sprinter, a stage racer, a climber? These are crowded niches already.

DSM ought to have had more wins but as they won stages of the Giro and Tour last year we’ll see if they can repeat. Meanwhile Movistar continue to baffle at times as they mass on the front of a race only to fade when the winning move forms but Alejandro Valverde who is back to winning ways.

As the only WorldTeam without a win, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert deny they’re in a crisis says Belgium newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. There would be a crisis if they had a team capable of winning a lot but as they don’t, there isn’t one. They have only one podium so far this season with Andrea Pasqualon’s third place in the GP Le Samyn and it’s hard to see where the win comes from, probably a breakaway but that’s already a tough ask. The team made a late bid to join the World Tour, the test is how they plan to stay there and we’ll see who they recruit.

Finally the Pro Teams, the confusing UCI label for cycling’s second tier as Deceuninck-Quickstep is a pro team but not a ProTeam. The story is of very slim pickings but Alpecin-Fenix are the exception, they lead the way on eight wins, four thanks to Mathieu van der Poel but more from Tim Merlier and Jasper Philipsen and they’re a giant squad of 32 riders now and effectively a World Tour team given they get automatic invites and are scoring enough points to ensure they’ll so so next year and by most measures they’re a superior outfit to some World Tour squads. They’re a template of how to race in the World Tour without being a WorldTeam, nor riding under a flag hoping for invitations to a domestic grand tour.

There’s a big drop-off now Wallonie-Pauwels have two, Vini Zabù have one and so do Rally and that’s it for the second division. Vini Zabù’s sprinter Jakub Mareczko got on and now they’ve stopped racing on self-imposed ban, a pointless act of self-flagellating ahead of the UCI’s review of their multiple doping cases as the self-suspension doesn’t count. A likely suspension looks will should see them sit out the Giro, their raison d’être. Androni-Sidermec boss Gianni Savio might hope for an invite but he’s blasted RCS in the media and will be lucky to get an invite for the Gran Piemonte. The absents are Arkéa-Samsic, Total Direct Energie and B&B Hotels who ought to have had a win, at least between them.

  • Methodology: *.1 wins and above count, ancillary competitions like points or mountains competitions don’t and a rider must be riding for their team, for example Ryan Gibbons’ two wins in the African championships count for him but not the UAE Emirates as he was racing for South Africa.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anonymous Monday, 12 April 2021, 11:25 am

    Ineos ‘has the biggest budget by far’ (and has 4 riders in the top 10 earners), and yet that is still consistently denied.
    If Vini Zabu are banned, Androni-Sidermec should certainly be given the place – it would be enormously petty of RCS not to do so.

    • GB Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 8:20 am

      I’ve got a feeling RCS will look elsewhere. Daniel Friebe has reported RCS being ‘over our dead body’ (or words to that effect) over inviting Androni. I’m thinking maybe Gazprom – strong Italian links. Perhaps Arkea or Total-DE.

      • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 9:51 am

        Or it’s left empty. Some teams would like to ride but slotting in a grand tour is a big deal, they’d need to get the invitation very soon. If Zabù get banned of course.

        • GB Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 8:27 pm

          Interesting and very fair points. Makes you wonder if a team has had the (very discreet) nod from RCS, pending the UCI decision. Altho, word would probably of got out somewhere. Also interesting ‘cost/benefit’ on leaving the spot empty – obvious benefits in terms of one less team to host, but would that team potentially bring valuable exposure for the race and its sponsors.

      • Larry T Friday, 16 April 2021, 10:26 am

        I guess we need to look for dead bodies at RCS now with Androni taking Vini-Zabu’s place?
        I’ve lived in Italy long enough to know the most unlikely bedfellows can go from hate to love and back again before a foreigner can wrap his head around the original polemic, especially if the details he’s getting are translated from the original Italian. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve read or heard something in English and thought – “Wait! What?” and then checked with Italian-language sources and found out someone got it very wrong 🙂

    • J Evans Thursday, 15 April 2021, 7:15 pm

      Huzzah!

  • plurien Monday, 12 April 2021, 11:38 am

    It would be interesting to see an analysis of podium riders by age. Are winners really getting younger these days?
    Must be getting quite tight for older riders seeing young talent bust straight into protected rider status by results. This must make teams wonder about the value of keeping more experienced riders on top salaries, and also the ways in which they develop the resource of riders who can get wins. -Do the teams go for a lot of lower cost neopros whilst running a feeder team, or spend a more on riders who are coming out of those contracts? Will the fortunes of some teams fade slowly as riders age whilst other teams leap up with their new star finds? Are the structures of junior and even youth racing put under stress by the value of big wins at early age?
    The racing this last couple of years has been fuĺl of fire so these are nice problems to ponder.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 12 April 2021, 1:19 pm

      I’d be tempted to do this for 2021… but the problem is making comparison and going back in time to work out the age at the time every season to see if the trend has changed. If you did this going back a long way you’d see a trend towards long careers, there seem to be more riders in their late 30s now and not just a few star names but some with experience below too. It’ll be interesting to see how long those turning pro at 20 today last for, because of the duration but also because of the intensity along the way.

      • plurien Monday, 12 April 2021, 2:46 pm

        Longer careers nowadays?
        Ok there are outliers like Valverde or Gilbert but it’s not possible to think any present day rider has the slightest chance of winning 5 Tours. The rate at which new riders come to the top makes for shorter careers, surely?
        You can make a case that sports medicine is improving but it’s now more focused on protecting talented athletes, where previously it was all about improving them ( by means that would lead to prolonged and higher performance, ahem, along with bad behaviour by older more ‘improved’ riders who could boss those younger riders who had to get access to the right doctors ever to stand a chance at racing).
        I was thinking that podiums have been getting younger and careers getting shorter.

        • Patrick Monday, 12 April 2021, 8:44 pm

          Pogacar seems immeniently capable of winning 5 tours – he is only 22 but has 1 already. the only thing making this unlikely is the number of other contenders. Even a short career finishing at 32 gives him 10 chances to get 4 more wins, that could easily be 15 years. the same could be said of Bernal, assuming he can get back to form.

          • plurien Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 7:58 pm

            If he came through at 20 we have to hope there are more like him on the way in the junior races now. Does anyone else think a rider’s career is unlikely to last ten years now?
            Not to say that’s a bad thing. We all know how the marquee riders used to stay on top; it wasn’t abstinence and early nights. Let’s hope it’s harder to keep on doing it without getting caught. Without a reputation and connections built over many years it should be harder to dope and prolong / enhance a career.

          • Tom James Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 11:10 pm

            People said the same about Ullrich …

            For every person who won. Tour de France at a young age and went on to a stellar career there are others whose later career, for various reasons, stalled, or at least didn’t lead to the heights expected. Anquetil, Fignon, Ullrich and Fignon were all aged 22 or 23 when they first won the Tour de France, but all went on to have significantly different career trajectories. In the summer of 1997 you would have got pretty short odds on Jan Ullrich going on to dominate cycling for the next decade.

            The current situation with Bernal and Pogacar having both won the Tour de France at a very young age is interesting. They can’t both go on to be the dominant force in cycling; maybe one of them will, but maybe neither will.

  • Richard S Monday, 12 April 2021, 1:15 pm

    I find Lotto an odd team. They signed Gilbert and Degenkolb on presumably a decent amount of money when both have had their best days, but let Benoot go. They’re a bit of a non entity in the classics and Alpecin-Fenix, supposedly a smaller less established Belgian team, seem to have much better riders. Not just the obvious, but also Merlier, Philipsen and Vermeersch. Other than an occasional Wellens attack, a couple of days in a grand tour with De Gendt up the road, and Ewan winning here and there you don’t see a lot of them.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 12 April 2021, 1:29 pm

      Its worked though, Tour de France stage wins like clockwork thanks to Greipel and Ewan in recent years and De Gendt and Wellens can deliver big wins too, a lot of team managers would love this. But what comes next? There’s been a change in management and a shift to recruit more young riders but a lot are Belgians recruited in part because they’re Belgian. Kron looks like a good signing.

      • Richard S Monday, 12 April 2021, 6:08 pm

        To me backing a sprinter as your main source of wins and exposure is only worth the effort if you have a winning machine with bags of media presence in the mould of Cavendish, Petacchi or Cipollini. Ewan is good and probably worth a couple of stages at the Tour and a Giro/Vuelta, but i don’t think even his best mates would say he’s charismatic. And surely a Belgian team has to have more presence on the cobbles.

        • DaveRides Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 11:06 am

          Ewan also has the added challenge this year of his forward sprinting position having been banned.

          He has a year on his contract after this one, so it won’t be a major problem for him if he has a flat year while he reinvents his approach to come back for a strong 2022.

          • J Evans Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 11:23 am

            How is his position banned? What difference is there between him and other sprinters?

          • Eskerrik Asko Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 1:01 pm

            I’m with J Evans here: Caleb Ewan is leaning forward, but not in the forbidden manner. He is holding the drops, not the tops or the hoods (as in the illustration provided by UCI). His chest is not resting on handlebar.

          • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 1:23 pm

            It’s not banned, he’s just been using it less and less these days, he spoke about it in an interview with Ride Media the other day after his Sanremo race, it’s on youtube.

          • Eskerrik Asko Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 2:02 pm

            Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) interview: 2nd in Milan-Sanremo 2021, #TalkingCycling​ – a race in detail https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Sviy0qH2s

  • Larry T Monday, 12 April 2021, 3:12 pm

    “Deceuninck-Quickstep – It looks like the sponsors are onboard for five more years” Really? Did I miss something? The same team BORA’s boss was threatening to buy not too long ago?
    “Bike Exchange – the team is hunting for a new backer” One and done for the sponsor Magrini on Italian Eurosport seemed to call Bike Sexchange, same as he used to say MitchelSton Scott? 🙂
    Sadly, finding a big, rich backer for an Aussie WT squad seems as hard as finding an Italian one for a WT squad here in La Bella Paese 🙁

    • DaveRides Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 4:52 am

      The Deceuninck/Bora thing turned out to be just a media circle-jerk.

      BikeExchange isn’t actually a sponsor, it is the team’s major backer Gerry Ryan simply picking which of the businesses he owns to use for the naming rights – a bit like how Aston Martin’s F1 team is not actually run by Aston Martin, the name is just used by a minor shareholder of the company who also owns the Racing Point team.

      It could be worse, Gerry could have gone with Walking With Dinosaurs Live Experience Pro Cycling 😉

      • Larry T Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 1:53 pm

        Thanks! I didn’t realize Bike Exchange was merely another one of Ryan’s operations like Mitchelton, Jayco and the others. But don’t laugh, what’s to stop him putting “Walking with Dinos” on the jersey next season? 🙂

        • Othersteve Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 2:05 am

          I’d buy that “Riding With Dino” Jersey in a heartbeat.

  • Chuffy Monday, 12 April 2021, 3:58 pm

    Is there a missing line for EF?

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 12 April 2021, 4:38 pm

      Just no particular comments came to mind, two stages in Paris-Nice with two second places and two third places as well, like others they’ve been squeezed by the bigger teams. Bissegger’s been a great signing.

  • jc Monday, 12 April 2021, 5:35 pm

    Cav! Another win for DQS (but not WT?), I know not quite the Champs Elysees but even if this is the “farewell tour” it is good to see he has not completely lost the knack of winning sprints.

    • Larry T Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 8:57 am

      Watching him win yesterday one could tell the Manx Missile still has the knack…but I’m not so sure about the legs as beating an equally past-his-sell-by-date sprinter like Greipel is a long way from the Champs, but it’s a start I guess?
      I’ve said he should have hung up the wheels awhile ago but if he’s gonna stick around and win some minor victories like these, perhaps he can finally call it quits with some dignity at year’s end? His palmares really doesn’t need any further additions to cement his place in cycling history.

      • Richard S Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 9:12 am

        With him and Greipel it did have a bit of a retro feel about it, but he did beat Philipsen who is a pretty good young sprinter. Plus he came from quite a way back, it wasnt quite the same as Demare and the school picnic.

        • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 9:56 am

          In his own words he knows the difference between the Tour of Turkey and the Tour de France. Nobody’s expecting him to win at the Tour but for any 35 year old sprinter to win is good, more so given he’s had a rough time of things with glandular fever twice and depression. We can argue who is the greatest sprinter of all time but he’s a candidate and above all right in front of us, it’s not some black-and-white archive photo story.

          • DJW Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 8:00 pm

            Greatest sprinter of all time? Van Looy, Maertens, Cipollini, Petacchi, Zabel… It’s Cavendish for speed, presence and style, though Maertens was a great sprinter and much more. A debate for another time.

          • Brent Sword Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 3:59 am

            Cav can still win a stage. Worse sprinters than current cav have won stages. Sprints are chaotic by nature. He seems to be riding the hard races well so on a hard or windy stage if he can make the front group he would be a real chance. On this team i feel he is riding the hard races better than ever. A good team means better protection and positioning in general.
            But perhaps if he could change stride to being a great lead out man he would be more useful to Bennett and the team.

        • Canocola Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 10:10 am

          The only genuine top-level sprinter around at the moment is Bennett, and Philipsen has already beaten him once this year. I think a lot of people are getting over-excited. No sprinter has got close to Cavendish in his pomp for the twenty years I’ve been watching – it’s unrealistic to expect a 36yo Cavendish to. On the other hand, there’s a genuine risk of over-compensating for that by going too far the other way.

          What I find interesting this season is that Cavendish is clearly more comfortable handling his bike in close proximity to other sprinters. One of the early signs that Cavendish might be reappearing at the front end was teammates mentioning he’d been in the mix in sprints during training, and nicking more than his fair share. I wonder if the DQS mentality towards racing carries over into training camps, and it’s given Cavendish more chance to dial back into to the sixth sense that sprinters need to move through at the decisive moment. It always used to be trackwork that Cavendish reached for to hone his sprinting, and I wonder if part of the benefit was just getting familiarised to having bikes close by at speed.

          • Larry T Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 3:37 pm

            Guess you missed: “Caleb Ewan’s probably still the best sprinter in the world although Sam Bennett’s supporters might have a word or three to say here.” above, or is your: “The only genuine top-level sprinter around at the moment is Bennett” a response?

          • jc Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 9:01 am

            Personally I would suggest Sam Bennett is the current top sprinter, he has been a far more reliable winner than Caleb Ewan over the past 12 months. The first real “sprinter” to win the green jersey since Cav.

            Cav now has two wins, though most of the field is very much not in the top class but Jesper Phillipson is there. he beat both Sam Bennett and Cav at the Scheldeprijs. That day was odd as I felt both Sam and Cav held back a bit as if they wanted the other to win letting Jjesper Phillipson in for the win.

          • Richard S Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 9:56 am

            I’m not saying Bennett isn’t a top sprinter, but whoever is the sprinter for Quick Step wins loads of races. Cavendish MkI, Kittel, Viviani, Gaviria, Jakobsen, Bennett… whoever the last man is to finish it off doesn’t seem to make any difference.

          • Larry T Thursday, 15 April 2021, 5:46 pm

            Richard S – good point. I was thinking the same thing about Bennett. The Manx Missile won plenty (when he wasn’t crashing others out of the way that is) BEFORE he went to the Wolf Pack while plenty who have left have done little to nothing afterward.
            I wonder if we’ll ever get a chance to look at Bennett that way as when/if they no longer employ him will it be because he can’t win anymore more or vice-versa?
            One thing we can say is if you can’t win with the support and lead-out provided by this team, you’re probably done as a sprinter and Cavendish looks to be wringing a bit more out of the arrangement before hanging up his wheels for good.

  • DJW Monday, 12 April 2021, 5:36 pm

    With Quintana, Bouhanni and Barguil on board, Arkea-Samsic must have a budget comparable with some WT teams yet, for now, not much to show for it. One second place for Bouhanni in a French 1.1 race and 12th for Quintana in Paris-Nice. Not much, but at least they have the golden TdF ticket. They also appear to be sending the three “stars” but Bouhanni’s presence indicates that Quintana won’t have the support for a GC place attempt.

    Groupama-FDJ are in the same place supporting a sprinter (Démare) and climber/GC in Gaudu.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 9:59 am

      Quintana’s been talking about stage wins or the polka dot jersey, it makes sense given the TT KMs this year and his team would just love a win. We’ll see how the form and his knees are soon, he’s doing the Tour of the Alps next week although this year’s edition is more intense and punchy than the hour long climbs he excels on.

      • Brent Sword Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 3:56 am

        For this team i think even a top 5 or top 3 would be a great result. He can talk stage wins or polka dot but if he goes well or appears in top form they will re calibrate in a heart beat.
        He form just doesn’t suggest he had his full heart in the training like he did in the past. At least with movie star. Discounting last year perhaps the new team will allow him to re calibrate.

        • Nick Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 11:20 am

          Don’t forget that Quintana also managed to catch that ailment most recreational cyclists are all too familiar with: automobilitis. Last year was weird anyway, but he hasn’t seemed quite the same since being hit by a car.

  • DJW Monday, 12 April 2021, 5:37 pm

    That’s me and incomplete in error. See below and delete please Mr IR.

  • Michael B Monday, 12 April 2021, 6:17 pm

    2008 since Cofidis’ last big win. I find Martin, Laporte and Viviani all really likeable so it’d be good to see them crack it this year. If Martin doesn’t race GC see you can definitely imagine him getting a win or two from breakaways in the mountains, but presumably the management want those top 10s and guaranteed WT points…

  • Dave the rave Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 9:31 am

    Thanks Inrng good analysis. Can’t help thinking about Pog and what happens if he is leading the TdF. Are his team strong enough? I can see Ineos and Jumbo licking their lips. Pogacar is an amazing talent, but so is Roglic. For me the two are miles above any other GC threats but right now my money is heavily on Roglic due to his very strong team.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 10:09 am

      Looking back the Tour of the Basque Country, Pogačar lost but in large part because he was trying to help his team mate McNulty, if he’d been free to ride for himself things could have been different and it was a race where he’s probably in a dip form-wise anyway or just in terms of priority, come July he won’t be waiting for anyone. But the weakness is the team, he’s unlikely to have help late into the mountain stages either.

      Jumbo had a much more interesting race tactically, letting McNulty ride up the road and seemingly making a show of not chasing when for year now they’ve tried to put every race they do into tactical lockdown and used the bluntest of tactics. The winners get to write history so it worked but it’ll be interesting to see how they race in the coming months. But they also have other cards to play, they’re bound to bring a sprinter to the Tour, presumably van Aert, and this means more wins but you can make the case – with the comfort of hindsight – that van Aert’s stage win in Lavaur last summer cost them the Tour because if they’d put more work into distancing Pogačar that day Roglič would have won overall. But again, worth stressing twice, that’s hindsight as they didn’t know it at the time. It just illustrates how having multiple goals can pay off in some areas but brings costs elsewhere.

      • J Evans Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 11:01 am

        For me, this illustrates Pogačar’s main (only?) weakness – not having a team that can protect him on flat, windy stages. Teams like J-V can exploit that and take a lot of time. He does have riders such as Hirschi, Trentin, Kristoff (if they all go – seems unlikely) who can protect him on those stages, but if I was him I’d be glued to Roglič’s wheel every second of every stage.

    • Richard S Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 10:30 am

      Roglic is Merckx-esque in one week stages, Valverde-esque even! But the Tour isn’t one week long. He’ll have a wobble at some point and probably fade as the race goes on, Pogacar will get stronger as it goes on. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a re run of last year with Jumbo taking multiple stage wins and Roglic wearing the yellow jersey for a long time. But I don’t think he’ll be wearing it on the podium, if he and Pogacar are both fit and present of course.

      • KevinK Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 3:41 pm

        I understand where the idea comes from that Roglic can’t handle a GT – he’s been utterly dominant in shorter stage races while having a couple of high profile stumbles at the TdF. But over the previous three years he’s done 5 GTs and won two, took second in one, third in another, and fourth in another where he wasn’t even team leader. He’s won a GT in each of the last two years when he’s been team leader, despite doing two GTs a year and number shorter stage races. I think his dominance has been part of the problem – he’s ridden like he can follow moves, win stages, and still be strong in the third week. I think he’s learned that lesson.

      • Brent Sword Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 4:05 am

        I don’t see it inevitable that roglic has to have a wobble and can’t ride a 3 week tour. Even in last years tour he road an excellent race all the way to the end. He put in a good TT but was just beaten by somebody else who put in a once in a decade final TT.
        He didn’t really fade. That said i think his team is strong but the DS are poor. They try and dominate to much and display a lot of bad tactics sending people up the road when they shouldn’t and just generally riding to hard when they should be saving themselves more. That’s Jumbo’s real weakness. They are to greedy.

        • KevinK Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 12:15 pm

          I agree with most of what you say, though I’m not sure how much of it is bad direction and team greediness. It’s been clear for a few years that Roglic has a massive killer instinct and has trouble holding back when he has a chance to win. Moreover, as Inring and others have noted, the time bonuses he gets for taking stage wins have been key in many of his overall victories.

          TJV also have to balance the goals and egos of other riders, most notably WvA. Yes, allowing him to go for stage wins potentially hurts his ability to function as a super domestique, but from a publicity perspective and for the sake of keeping him happy, they have to let him off the leash as mush as they reasonably can.

  • dft Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 1:21 pm

    I see that the notion that super-budgets are crushing the sport is struggling to hold up. It always did seem a bit too convenient and under-challenged to me.

    • J Evans Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 1:33 pm

      Not the sport. It’s usually just the TdF that it makes dull, as that’s where the super-trains are.

    • Larry T Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 3:33 pm

      Really? Aren’t #’s 2, 3 and 4 on the victory list the ones with the fattest budgets and the expensive rider salaries? Deceuninck-Quickstep is quite often the WT “value leader” but at the same time they’re handing Lulu what is probably a hefty pay envelope, no?

  • JH Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 7:46 pm

    Apologies if I am missing something, but is Vingegaard Jv’s best for wins?

    He’s had one World Tour win, and 2 .1 wins, and a .1 GC

    Roglic has had four WT wins and 1 WT GC.

    • JH Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 7:48 pm

      Or do TT’s not count?

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 8:18 am

      No, quite right. Wrote the post on a lunchtime last week but then thought it would be better to wait for the Tour of the Basque Country to finish. Will fix it above.

      • cp Thursday, 15 April 2021, 3:49 am

        Either way, that’s pretty amazing that Vingegaard is on a par with or better than Roglic in wins right now.

        And Piddock today helped lower that average age of winners this season…

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